In response to the First Quarter Fiscal Update, Alberta Liberals are calling on the NDP government to produce a credible plan to tackle the province’s unsustainable borrowing and debt load.
“The NDP’s record level of borrowing and debt is seriously concerning, especially without a credible plan to pay it back, says Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan. “The Minister of Finance is simply crossing his fingers and hoping that rebounding oil prices will bail him out before the next election.
”We need to concentrate on controlling operational costs and focus on smart investments in infrastructure instead of borrowing to keep the lights on. The NDP’s approach to managing our province's finances is shockingly short-sighted.”
Khan points out the NDP are liquidating their contingency fund and promising $400 million in unspecified “savings” to paper over their ballooning deficit.
“This is just fudging the numbers to make it appear their spending and revenue problems are under control,” says Khan. “Even their projection of $49 per barrel oil is rosier than the market projections of $47.53 - $49.32.”
Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann is also concerned with NDP spending practices and priorities, specifically in the areas health care, infrastructure projects, and government contracting.
“The government has missed yet another opportunity to look at waste in the health system,” says Swann. “Health spending continues to be the largest line item in the budget and we need to be looking for efficiencies.
“The government also needs to take a close look at the contracting and monitoring of delivery on infrastructure projects,” says Swann. “I have heard from numerous stakeholders about inappropriate spending and mismanagement of government contracts.
“The government must not only work to restrain its spending, but also make sure that public funds are being put to the greatest effect.”
Both agree that the NDP needs to have a credible deficit reduction plan if it hopes to salvage Alberta’s long-term financial outlook.
“We urgently need an adult conversation about closing the gap between government revenue and spending,” says Swann. “The NDP’s over-reliance on volatile resource revenue is not sustainable nor realistic, and we simply cannot continue to borrow at this rate.”
“Alberta Liberals believe in fiscal responsibility and fairness to future generations,” says Khan. “These fiscal policies manage to be unfair to both current taxpayers and future generations of Albertans.”